We keep wondering whether the SEC can get seriously involved in this year’s Heisman race, but Texas A&M and Alabama keep winning with high-level performances by their quarterbacks. Isn’t that usually the formula?
So maybe it’s time to give those guys – and a few new dark horses – a closer look:
QB Trevor Knight, Texas A&M: Maybe it’s his pedestrian completion percentage (53.5), but this guy isn’t getting nearly enough national attention. He’s thrown for 1,500 yards, rushed for 502 yards and produced 18 total touchdowns for the undefeated Aggies. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is the only better dual threat in college football. Knight needs a big day against Alabama in two weeks to solidify himself (and A&M) as a contender.
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) October 8, 2016
QB Jalen Hurts, Alabama: Surely somebody from the best team in the country ought to be in the mix, right? The freshman has good-not-great numbers – 1,242 yards passing, 296 rushing, 14 total touchdowns – but his lack of mistakes (just 2 interceptions) has been key to the Crimson Tide’s latest championship push. Light up Tennessee and Texas A&M the next two Saturdays and Hurts could launch a viable campaign.
QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee: As quickly as Dobbs jumped into the race with rescue missions against Florida and Georgia, he probably sank any shot with four turnovers in the loss to Texas A&M. He has 19 total touchdowns but 10 turnovers in six games.
THE LONG SHOT
DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee: In a heartbreaking loss at Texas A&M, he kept up his streak of eight consecutive games (dating to last season) with at least one tackle for loss. In a brutal three-game stretch against Florida, Georgia and the Aggies, Barnett recorded 5 sacks. He will go down as one of the SEC’s all-time great pass rushers.
No big deal here, just 265-pound DE Derek Barnett successfully covering an All-SEC wide receiver man-to-man 25 yards downfield. pic.twitter.com/CDGPagt7rb
— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) October 10, 2016
THE NEW GUY
RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M: He’s a freshman few knew about three weeks ago, so this is a major long shot. Williams’ 217 rushing yards against Tennessee at least put him on the radar. Williams now leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally with 704 rushing yards, averaging 8.6 per carry. He ranks first nationally with four runs of 40-plus yards and two of 70-plus. If he keeps racking up numbers and the Aggies keep winning …
QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: He was off last week after producing 1,625 yards passing, 688 yards rushing and 28 total touchdowns through five games. His huge game at Clemson wasn’t enough to keep the Cardinals undefeated, but Jackson is still the clear favorite.
RB Dalvin Cook, FSU: Talk about turning on the turbos. With another huge total against Miami, Cook has averaged 261.3 yards rushing and receiving the last three games. He’s up to third nationally in rushing with 785 yards, plus 345 yards receiving.
Dalvin Cook turns a 2 yard loss into a 54 yard gain. https://t.co/nThx1YpMAu
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) October 10, 2016
QB DeShaun Watson, Clemson: Here comes the preseason Heisman favorite. After rescuing the Tigers against Louisville, he delivered 294 total yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions in a rout of Boston College. Watson has 9 touchdowns in the last two games.
LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: The do-everything star added to his resume with 3 rushes for 74 yards and 2 touchdowns – plus another tackle for loss – in a bludgeoning of Rutgers. He has 10 tackles for loss, 442 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in six games.
.@JabrillPeppers' Heisman chances?
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) October 10, 2016
RB Donnel Pumphrey, San Diego State: It was sort of a ho-hum game (by his standards) against UNLV: 31 carries for 141 yards and 1 touchdown. But he added 7 catches for 57 yards, and Pumphrey still leads the nation with 891 rushing yards (to go with 131 receiving).
RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: The 2015 runner-up’s 2016 campaign might’ve ended the last two weeks in the Cardinal’s back-to-back losses. He had just 83 all-purpose yards (only 40 rushing and receiving) against Washington State on Saturday after producing 85 yards on offense the week before against Washington.
QB Greg Ward Jr., Houston: He delivered 359 yards passing and 94 rushing but also threw 2 interceptions in a 46-40 loss at Navy that likely ended the Cougars’ College Football Playoff hopes. Even so, his 1,956 total yards and 17 total touchdowns in five games merit Heisman consideration.
QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: The Indiana game won’t make the Heisman reel, despite 137 rushing yards. He completed just 9 of 21 passes for 93 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception against the Hoosiers, Barrett’s worst passing performance of the season. But the Buckeyes are still undefeated and he has produced 19 total touchdowns in five games.
IF WE VOTED TODAY
- Lamar Jackson
- Dalvin Cook
- Jabrill Peppers